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April in Alaska begins as the tail end of winte r—the northern lights still can be seen in the sky, and there is often still enough snow for skiing and other winter sports. Things quiet down in preparation for summer. For local Alaskans, April is a favorite. April is the driest and clearest month of the yearand the and the time when daylight effectively banishes darkness to the middle of the night. The retreating snowpack triggers the first green-up and exposes dry hiking routes near sea level. The adventurous can find some of the best winter sports conditions of the year at higher elevationsand when night freezes have created a morning crust.
The mountains and foothills remain white, while flatlands and shoreline awaken to spring.
This month does come with some caveats. Ski areas start scaling back or suspending operations by mid-month. Backcountry hiking or front-country camping can be difficult, if not absolutely sloshy. Plus, the shriveling snowpack unveils lots of gunk and can generate big puddles, so Alaska is not always at its most scenic.
Still, with few visitors in April, the sunny, melting landscape can feel gorgeously vast and empty beneath stunning blue skies. Read on below. Moose are enduring the final tough stretch before they can feast on spring greens. Ravens become extremely active, while resident forest birds like chickadees and redpolls continue to forage in noisy flocks. As the snow disappears, the very earliest migratory birds begin to appear, especially on exposed tidal flats and in sea-level forests.
The annual gray whale migration begins to pick up in the Gulf of Alaska, with cruises out of Seward and Kodiak. The marine world begins to awaken. Bald eagles and gulls might start showing up in town, with a few ducks and geese making appearances in rare ice-free spots. Prepare for wide temperature fluctuations. Bring a medium-weight insulated jacket, hat, gloves, and insulating layers.
Snow sports enthusiasts heading to the mountains still need to be prepared for hardcore winter conditions. If traveling through a snowy landscape, bring sunblock and sunglasses: The solar power of April matches August in intensity, and this will be magnified by brilliant snow.
Though April can be very dry, a spell of rainy weather will feel especially chilly, so pack rain gear. Expert Advice First Trip to Alaska? How to Plan and Book? What to Wear in Alaska? Which Departure Port? Cruise or Land Tour First? Cruise Only or Cruise Tour?
Visiting Alaska in April. Key Details Daylight is returning fast, with an additional six minutes or so of direct sunlight in southern Alaska every single day. Daytime temperatures often hit the high 40s, but can still dip Fairbanks Alaska intimate encounters freezing in the wee morning hours.
Not many visitor activities or services are open yet. Denali National Park hotels are shuttered, for instance; and while most of the park road remains snowbound, the first 10 or so miles are usually plowed.
Venturing outside the cities? Make lodging reservations. Depending on the weather, the first half of April can provide the same incredible snowpack as March, with extensive grooming of trails and almost infinite travel possibilities. Yet a lot of people will have moved on from their winter mindset, often leaving venues empty. Hike or ski on the crust. April is the best time to find crust. A late-afternoon melt that saturates the snow, followed by a hard freeze overnight, creates a firm surface that can temporarily support skiers, bikers, snowmachiners, and hikers usually in the early morning.
There may be nothing more exhilarating than zooming across a white expanse that fully supports your weight. For skate skiers, in particular, the effortless glide feels a bit like suddenly being able to fly. Watch life return. While flatlands and shoreline awaken to spring, the foothills remain white.
Seeing Wildlife Moose are enduring the final tough stretch before they can feast on spring greens. What to Pack Prepare for wide temperature fluctuations. Find excellent skiing, biking, and hiking along maintained routes and at ski resorts. Get reports on conditions at the Anchorage Nordic Ski Club daily grooming report and the local trail blog.
Try winter biking. Riding over snow and ice has become a passion for many here. Take a scenic hike. Kincaid beach will already be snow-free; you may see early migratory flocks if you stroll southeast along the arm. Go dog sledding. It's not too late, though conditions change fast. Here are the operators we recommend near Anchorage. Get Cultural Enjoy a show. The very popular Anchorage Symphony —whose concerts often sell out—generally holds a season finale in early April. See the Native Youth Olympics. Dive into history.
On First Fridays when many galleries all over town feature creative worksadmission to the Anchorage Museum is free. Other Cool Stuff Ride the rails. It he north on Saturday and returns to Anchorage Sunday. Or ride one way to Fairbanks, spend a few days, and fly back with RavnAir. Explore the beer renaissance. See indigenous creatures. Check out bears, moose, owls, eagles, wolves, and more—many of them orphaned or rescued-at the Alaska Zoo. Alyeska Resort delivers awesome spring conditions on often-uncrowded slopes. Celebrate breakup! Treat yourself. Enjoy the spa, dining, and nightlife at Hotel Alyeska ; hike through a temperate rainforest Fairbanks Alaska intimate encounters the nearby Winner Creek Trail.
Get a view. Explore dining hot spots. Portage and Portage Valley Visit the animals. Tour the Wildlife Conservation Center for guaranteed wildlife viewing as the snow peels back and animals become more active. Play on the snowy crust. Perfect for skiers, snow-bikers, snowshoers, hikers, and snowmachiners. Scan temperature reports to gauge crust formation and check the trail blog for when and where to go. Talkeetna Go flightseeing. Year-round flightseeing tours around Denali are one highlight of this picturesque community, an easy train ride away from Anchorage.
Denali Plan your stay. Most hotels, restaurants, and venues won't open til mid-May. Drive the park road. Plowing begins in March; you may be allowed to drive the first 15 miles to Savage River as early as the first weekend in April. Go snowshoeing. Take a guided tour. Northern Alaska Tour Company on a guided tour, including a guided nature walk.
Fairbanks Watch the northern lights. You can check them out on your own, or opt for a guided excursion or overnight experience. Warm up naturally. Explore the Arctic.
Learn about the north. Fairbanks has great museums open all month. Walk with reindeer. At Running Reindeer Ranchyou can take reindeer for a walk! Travel like a local. Party like a local. Some miles from Fairbanks in Paxson, Arctic Man is an extraordinary downhill ski race that attracts thousands in mid-April.Fairbanks Alaska intimate encounters
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